Reviews from different places we've been
Click here for press reviews from our recent run at Perishable Theatre in Providence
- Bloomfield Museum of Science, Jerusalem, Israel
wonderful and thought-provoking performance written with delicacy and
performed at the highest level of accuracy and coordination. For long
moments, I really believed that Judy could think and speak. All my
fears of seeing a too-technical and intellectual show dissolved as the
personality of this smart machine and its creator and their complex
relationship unravelled and intrigued. It is a show that is so much
about what it's like to be a human!!"-- Maya Halevy,
- Madatech - National Museum of Science, Haifa, Israel
- "We found your show entertaining, intriguing and very minds-on!
Your presentation was well suited to our audience of thinkers and
tinkerers, and we loved your excellent humor and human approach!"
-- Ronen Mir, Deputy Director
- International Lisp Conference, Cambridge, MA
- "Tom performed 'Judy' at the banquet of the International
Lisp Conference 2009.
It was a big hit! The audience included both people with Artificial
Intelligence experience, and people with no computer science
background at all, and they all enjoyed the show. Combining serious,
thoughtful material with humor successfully
is rarely done well; Tom does it perfectly! He's a a great performer!"
-- Dan Weinreb, conference chair, co-founder of Symbolics
- ITA Software, Cambridge, MA
- "Tom Sgouros's one-man/one-robot show represents the best of
'geek theatre.' With smarts and charm he crafts a world where
artificial intelligence questions its own existence as well as the merits of
doing dishes. Anyone who like technology and appreciates the benefits it
brings to mankind will love Judy the Robot." -- Cara Kretz, VP Marketing
- University of Edinburgh, Scotland
- "My family (two five year olds, geek averse wife, and geeky I)
all enjoyed Tom Sgouros's show, Judy -or- What is it like to be a
robot? Old chestnuts about philosophy, strong AI, and the soul turned
fresh and funny. The most enjoyable evening I've spent in the theatre
in years (and Edinburgh has plenty of theatre)."
-- Philip Wadler, Informatics Department (link)
- Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland
- Hi Tom
I'm really sorry I missed you on Friday, as I didn't get a chance with
the crowds round you on Thursday night !!!
Your show was just brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have had
excellent feedback from people that went.
The weather has been pretty dismal since you left but its nice that you
went away thinking that Aberdeen was a hot and sunny place and Judy
didn't need her cosy boots.
Best wishes and good luck for the future
Barbara Jones, RGU
ps say hi to Judy for me
- UC Berkeley
- "Tom Sgouros's performance is one-of-a-kind! It's amazingly
witty and charming, and the technology is innovative enough that it
intrigues simply because it was a solo creation and not the product
of a team of engineers. What really brings the show to the next level,
however, is the focus on the characters and issues at hand, rather
than solely on the technology that makes them possible. I highly
recommend Tom Sgouros's show to anyone in the least bit curious about
the mind, artificial intelligence, or good theater in general!"
-- Michael W. Cole and the
Science Student Association
- U Pittsburgh
- "The performance piece by Tom Sgouros made an excellent opening
event for our recent International Conference on Cognitive Modeling.
The show presents central philosophical issues from cognitive science in a
delightful format, rendering deep and complex concepts like free will
accessible to the layman. The entire audience, ranging from children to
professors, were captivated by the interaction of Tom and Judy."
-- Paul Munro, School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh
- California Polytechnical, San Luis Obispo, CA
- "Our audience here at Cal Poly was captivated by Judy the
Robot. The performance itself was intelligent and funny. And the
philosophical issues surrounding consciousness and personhood were
raised in insightful and intriguing ways--the unexpected twists were
great fun!"-- Linda Bomstad, chair, Philosophy Department.
- Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA
- "We had Tom entertain at our conference (an eclectic
combination of biologists and roboticists). He and Judy raised many
of the philosophical questions that lurk in the back of a roboticist's
mind. In fact, he added a few more to the back of my mind. But they
did it in a very approachable way. Our group was thoroughly
entertained!"-- Tucker Balch, College of Computing
- Duke University, Durham, NC
I wanted to write you a brief note telling you just how much we enjoyed your
performance. What a terrific show! I hope that you enjoyed yourself as
well--so much so that were we to invite you again next year (which seems likely),
you would accept the invitation*.
Guven Guzeldere, Department of Philosophy
*Ed note: they did.
- Indiana University, Collins Center
- "[Tom's] on-stage conversations with such technological marvels
as the tape recorder and Judy the robot play out -- and bring to
unexpected conclusions -- the secret love/hate relationships we all
have with infernal machines that make so much possible, but that so
often turn on us when we need them most...
I have found his monologues not only highly
entertaining, but intellectually absorbing and simply unique in my
experience of theatre...We have had many guest artists and speakers
come through Collins in my years here, and Tom has been among the most
delightful to work with and the most generous with his time."
-- Catherine Hawkes, Special Programs Coordinator.
- University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
- Dear Tom,
Thanks again for bringing your wonderful show, Judy, or What is it Like
to be a Robot?, to the University of Waterloo. Everyone thoroughly
enjoyed it, from philosophy professors to computer science students to my
11-year old son. We found your show to be thoughtful, witty, and highly
entertaining. I hope many other
people will have the opportunity to see you perform.
Sincerely, Paul Thagard, Professor of Philosophy,
Director, Cognitive Science Program
- UC Santa Barbara
- "Tom Sgouros and his robot friend Judy perform a rare feat...
they provoke thought, instill curiosity, and even generate sympathetic
considerations for the possible plight of a future race of electronic
slaves. But first and foremost, they entertain... Go see it, and
bring your kids and your parents."-- Daniel
Montello, Chair of the Cognitive Science Program at UCSB
- Pomona College, Claremont, CA
- "This show is a rare treat indeed. Judy the robot, and her human
sidekick Tom, bring the big questions about mind, consciousness, and free
will to life in a wonderfully tangible and entertaining way. Watching them
interact, and listening to their witty, mind-stretching dialogue is more
effective than a dozen philosophical debates. Judy is an
intellectual gem, and loads of fun to boot!"--Jim Marshall,
Computer Science Program, Pomona College
- Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
- "Tom Sgouros's show, Judy, or What is it Like to be a
Robot? is both funny and deep. It's got something for
everyone---philosophers, robotics researchers, and people who enjoy
laughs with a few surprises thrown in. Judy isn't the usual sci-fi
robot on a rampage, but she does challenge our ideas about what it
might be like to be a machine. Run, don't walk, to go see a
performance near you!"-- Nils Nilsson,
Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, author of Artificial Intelligence: A New Synthesis, etc, etc.
- California State University Hayward, Hayward, CA
- "The most entertaining colloquium of the year! Tom Sgouros's
intelligence is anything but artificial in this quick-witted
conversation between a man and his robot. Like all great dialogues from
Plato onwards, the audience is left with much delicious food for
thought. Bravo!"--Tom Roby, Computer Science Program, Cal State Hayward.
- Cal Tech, Pasadena, CA
- "Tom (the somewhat uptight and nerdy human) and Judy (the very tricky
and clever robot) are a pair whose dialogue is not to be missed. Who
is the robot here? The show is entertaining and thought-provoking"-
- Maja Mataric,
USC Robotics Lab
- University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI
- "Tom's show was both entertaining and provocative. It raised
philosophical questions about humanity and our relationship with
technology, and it also raised ethical questions about how we human
beings should treat one another...Tom has a gift for presenting these
complex issues in an accessible way...Do not hesitate to call upon the
talents of Tom Sgouros, you will not be
disappointed!"-- David E. Nantais, S.J.,
Campus Minister, College of Engineering.
- Penn State University, State College, PA
- "It is
hard to describe, it's a play, it's an essay, it's a quite interesting
thought piece... If you get a chance to see it, you are likely to
like it... We will be considering having [Judy and Tom] back to a
larger auditorium." -- Frank Ritter, School of Information Science and Technology.
- Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI
- "Tom Sgouros brings together intellectual exploration and entertainment
into a happy union... The unassuming Sgouros captures the imagination
of his audience, regardless of age... The skill with which Tom Sgouros
uses his robot, his audience, and any eventuality makes for a
stimulating performance which is likely to linger with any audience
long after the curtain falls." -- Gersham
Nelson, Professor and Head, Department of History and Philosophy
- Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
can't imagine a better introduction to some of the most
thought-provoking questions in cognitive science and artificial
intelligence. Wonderfully entertaining!" -- Randall Beer,
Computer Science Department.
- Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
- "What makes this play so unique is its ability to really work at
so many levels at once. It is pure entertainment - a witty and engaging
dialogue between a human (Tom) and his robot (Judy) with lots of laughs
and several surprises for the audience. But Tom (and Judy) accomplish
so much more along the way - they force the viewer to confront some of
the classic problems regarding the relationship between
mind and body that have continued to puzzle philosophers of mind...
We all highly recommend Tom (and Judy)"
-- Thomas Palmeri, Woo-kyoung Ahn, and other
members of the psychology department
- Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI
- "Your show, aside from being very enjoyable and entertaining, was
thought-provoking and stimulated very interesting discussions on art, life,
and self-awareness. It isn't often that such deep ideas come in such an
accessible and fun package... it was wonderful to work with you and your
charming friend Judy." -- Dorisa Boggs, Theatre Program.
- Albion College, Albion, MI
- "Many people said your presentation was the best thing brought in this year...
I especially enjoyed your informal presentation and give-and-take with
my students in the computer understanding of human language class. The
students seemed very much to enjoy speaking with someone who thinks
about the meaning of intelligence and can bring it to a wide
audience. It was the most animated I had seen them in lecture."
-- Martha O'Kennon, Math and Computer
- Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
show addresses issues including self-determination, free will, recursion,
and many others, in a light-hearted way that makes the audience think hard
for a few hours after the show. This is an extremely good thing...
In short, we were very glad to have invited him here, and I would highly
encourage another school to invite him as well. The show is very,
very good." -- Randy Pausch, co-Director
of the Entertainment Technology Center.
- North Kingstown Free Library, North Kingstown, RI
- "What a treat it was to have you and Judy at the library last night!
The performance was truly magical -- not in the sleight of hand sense,
but in the sense that opens up real questions and gives us a glimpse
of truth...Bravo!" -- Susan Berman,
- Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
- "I would definitely recommend seeing a performance by Tom and
his metallic friend Judy, for a quick and very entertaining introduction
to some serious philosophical issues that loom in the age of smart
robots." -- Todd Davies, Symbolic Systems Program Director
- University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
show was a wonderful success.... The show was intellectually engaging
and very funny...I wish that I could find other such shows."
-- Dennis R. Proffitt, Psychology
- Penn State University, State College, PA
- " It is a
very impressive accomplishment to put together a show that both holds
a four-year-old's attention and stimulates an old professor's
thinking! Judy herself is great, and I found myself drawn in despite
knowing something about the stagecraft that makes her work... if
anyone is wondering whether the show is worthwhile, I'll be happy to
tell them that it is, and then some! -- Rich Carlson, Psychology Department, author of
- Bradford County (PA) Regional Arts Council
- "The show was really great. I'd never seen anything quite
like that before. It was really original. Tom's a really talented
actor and it's impressive how realistically he and the robot seem to
converse with each other." -- A member of the local high school
[Ed. note: "Seem?" Judy replies: "Hmph."]
- Tufts University, Medford, MA
- "...An imagination-stretcher that delights while it exercises
your mind...Judy is an irresistible
presence, much better company than many flesh-and-blood actors and
actresses. Sgouros' exploration of the deep and quirky philosophical
questions of consciousness is subtle and deft, right on target."
-- Daniel Dennett
- Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
- "`Judy' deals with issues concerning the foundations of
Cognitive Science: What is consciosness? What is memory? What is
self? I enjoyed the presentation immensely, and heard from others who
attended (ranging from Cognitive Science undergraduates to faculty to
the general public) that they felt likewise... I could not recommend
him strongly enough to anyone considering having him visit."
-- Richard M. Shiffrin, Director Cognitive Science Program.
- Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA
- "I was impressed with how Sgouros managed to
address important open questions in the field, such as what does it
mean to be conscious and how might a pre-programmed entity become
conscious, while creating a thoroughly entertaining performance for
all ages." -- Lisa Meeden, Computer Science Department.
- University of North Carolina, Greensboro
- "You and Judy portrayed extremely difficult and sometimes
arcane problems with a degree of charm, humor and clarity that reached
us all. Your intellect, your artistry and your profoundly deep
understanding of the many issues involved in human-machine
interactions made it a superb experience. I especially enjoyed our
informal discussions." -- Cheryl
Logan, Psychology Department
- Indiana University (again)
- "This is the remarkable
achievement of Tom Sgouros. In one and the same show, not only can he
amuse and provoke the most general audience, but he can also
profoundly engage the minds of the most serious professionals in the
fields of cognitive science, philosophy of mind, and robotics, and
make them think new thoughts about issues with which they have
grappled for decades." -- Doug Hofstadter
- Montclair (NJ) High School
- "The students in our Robotics program who have to create a
robot from scraps and trial and error could really relate to your
experiences in creating Judy. It was an interesting experience for
them to begin to think about the broader implications of this act of
creation. Anything that can help them to think on mnay different
levels and still be humorous and entertaining is a definite plus with
high school students." -- Ed Lebida, Assistant Principal.
- North Bay Bohemian, Santa Rosa, CA
- "...an oddly adorable appendage composed of old computers, a
couple of bicycles, a copy machine, and, for good measure, a kitchen
sink. Judy has no arms, but she does have a jaw, which she is
inclined to use without reservation, questioning Sgouros' seemingly
logical statements... Sgouros, through Judy, makes philosophy accessible with a
very dry wit. Seemingly endless philosophical loopholes
dealing with consciousness are much easier pills to swallow
once a roughly hewn robot who belts out renditions of "John
Henry" transforms them to fruity Flintstones chewable
vitamins." -- Sara Bir, read
the rest here.